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“These students have overcome tremendous odds”

By Pablo J. Sáinz
La Prensa San Diego

This year, seven students from the after-school, college-preparation program Reality Changers will become Gates Millenium Scholars, a competitive scholarship that will pay for their entire college education, up to a doctorate degree.

If Reality Changers were a school, it would rank 1st in California and 2nd in the nation in the number of Gates Millenium Scholars it produces.

“It’s really amazing,” said Reality Changers founder and president, Christopher Yanov. “The next school in California with the most scholars has only four.”

But Reality Changers, a role model for programs across the nation in college preparation and gang-prevention founded in 2001, has students like Lesley Guerana, who overcame her parents’ and her own health issues. She now plans to attend UC San Diego this fall.

The organization will host its 15th Annual Scholarship Celebration on Sunday, May 17th, at SeaWorld San Diego, where 300 high school seniors will celebrate earning more than $20 million in college scholarships.

Reality Changers will also congratulate its 8th to 11th grade students who earned scholarships to attend UCSD’s Academic Connections and summer leadership camp.

“These students have overcome tremendous odds,” said Yanov, who founded Reality Changers with just $300 to its name. “They are a testament to what one can accomplish with a lot of determination and some guidance along the way.”

The celebration…

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